Physiological responses to incremental exercise in the heat following internal and external precooling

Carl James, Alan Richardson, Peter Watt, Oliver Gibson, Neil Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Twelve males completed three incremental, discontinuous treadmill tests in the heat [31.9(1.0) °C, 61.9(8.9)%] to determine speed at two fixed blood lactate concentrations (2 and 3.5 mmol/L), running economy (RE), and maximum oxygen uptake ( VO2max ). Trials involved 20 min of either internal cooling (ICE, 7.5 g/kg ice slurry ingestion) or mixed-methods external cooling (EXT, cold towels, forearm immersion, ice vest, and cooling shorts), alongside no intervention (CON). Following precooling, participants ran 0.3 km/h faster at 2 mmol/L and 0.2 km/h faster at 3.5 mmol/L (P = 0.04, partial η2 = 0.27). Statistical differences were observed vs CON for ICE (P = 0.03, d = 0.15), but not EXT (P = 0.12, d = 0.15). There was no effect of cooling on RE (P = 0.81, partial η2 = 0.02), nor on VO2max (P = 0.69, partial η2 = 0.04). An effect for cooling on physiological strain index was observed (P < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.41), with differences vs CON for EXT (P = 0.02, d = 0.36), but not ICE (P = 0.06, d = 0.36). Precooling reduced thermal sensation (P < 0.01, partial η2 = 0.66) in both cooling groups (P < 0.01). Results indicate ICE and EXT provide similar physiological responses for exercise up to 30 min duration in the heat. Differing thermoregulatory responses are suggestive of specific event characteristics determining the choice of cooling. Precooling appears to reduce blood lactate accumulation and reduce thermoregulatory and perceptual strain during incremental exercise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-199
Number of pages181
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


  • Precooling
  • endurance
  • ice slurry
  • external cooling
  • lactate threshold
  • thermoregulation


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